In this audio recording, Pastor John provides an overview summary of the London Baptist Confession of Faith (1689) as well as an explanation of its place in the life of King’s Church.
The Reformed Worship Service: Why we do what we do in church.
Here is the now completed series of B.R.I.D.G.E. Ministries (Laredo, Texas) podcasts covering the doctrines of grace (the so called TULIP acrostic). I was very privileged to be a part. I believe the series will be a great blessing and richly informative to those who listen to it. – Pastor John
1. The Sovereignty of God – Dr. John Frame
2. Total Depravity – Pastor Jeff Durbin, Apologia Church, Tempe, AZ
3. Unconditional Election – Pastor John Samson, King’s Church, Peoria, AZ
4. Limited Atonement – Dr. James White, Alpha & Omega Ministries
5. Irresistible Grace – Dr. Tim Trumper, former professor at Westminster Theological Seminary and the founder of From His Fullness Ministries
6. Perseverance of the Saints – Dr. Joel Beeke, President of Puritan Reformed Theological Seminary and founder/editor of Reformation Heritage Books
Pastor John’s newest book “The Five Solas – Standing Together Alone” is available in paperback at this link and in audio and eBook form here. In this short (2 minute, 24 second) video he explains the reason for writing the book:
THE FIVE SOLAS
Sola Scriptura: The Bible is the sole written divine revelation and alone can bind the conscience of believers absolutely.
Sola Gratia: Our salvation rests solely on the work of God’s grace for us.
Sola Fide: Justification is by faith alone. The merit of Christ, imputed to us by faith, is the sole ground of our acceptance by God, by which our sins are remitted, and imputed to Christ.
Solus Christus: Christ is the only mediator through Whose work we are redeemed.
Soli Deo Gloria: To God alone belongs the glory.
FUTURE SPANISH TRANSLATION
Please join with us in prayer as we seek to have the book published in Spanish.
This recording is a project I have been working on for quite some time, seeking to answer the question, “How can we know the Bible is the word of God?”
Transcript of The Dividing Line. March 6, 2018 at the 9:00 minute mark, Dr. James White.
“I believe very, very strongly that the central act of worship of the Church is the full and careful and balanced ministry of the word of God to the people of God, gathered together to hear what God has to say. So meaningful, sound, solid exegesis – everything we do before and after – if there is anything after – is simply meant to heighten and to prepare us, to put us in the proper frame of mind to be obedient and to have hearing ears. Anything that we put into that worship service that closes our ears, distracts us, in any way shuts down our ability to hear the word is wrong – it is going the wrong direction. And the most important thing that a shepherd of the sheep can do is to faithfully communicate not just the part of the message you think is all fire important but if you really believe that all scripture (not just some) but all scripture is theopneustos (God breathed) then you need to deliver all of it… all of it. And that means covering some stuff that ain’t going to make people see gold-dust coming out of the ceiling. I mean there is some tough stuff to handle – there is some difficult stuff in there. And that means there are going to be services that are highly instructional, there are going to be services that are incredibly uplifting, there are going to be services that do bring you into the very presence of God in heaven and there are others that absolutely smack you down into the dirt, when you realize how much of God’s grace you take for granted, and how few of the duties are ours we actually pursue with the proper zeal of redeemed people. In other words, it is going to be balanced. And the balance is determined not by us but by what is found in the Scriptures given to us by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit – that canon of Scripture God has given to us – that… that is where our balance is to be found.”
Pastor John Samson
Here at King’s Church we recommend the New American Standard Bible (NASB) and it is the one most frequently used in our services. I say this for two main reasons; the first being that it can be very confusing if we have the different words in front of us in our Bibles as the sermon is being preached. This can be very alarming for new Christians who are not aware of the issues and see a text in front of them that is sometimes quite different from what the preacher is using.
Decades ago, there was only one real Bible version of choice, the King James Version. History tells us that it was actually the Geneva Bible, with its Reformation based explanatory study notes, that was the very first Bible to come over to the shores of America on the Mayflower. However, the growing popularity of the KJV eventually made seeing the Geneva Bible a rare event in church services and homes.
The King James Version is certainly an excellent translation which has served the church for many generations. However, the meaning of words have changed a great deal in the centuries since the first printing of the KJV in 1611. Many preachers (me included) found that when using it, much time was required in a sermon to update and explain the archaic language used. A newer translation removes the need for this.
In addition to the archaic language of the KJV, what we know of the original text and languages has improved significantly in the last 400 years or so. The Church in our day has needed a Bible translation which reflects this great advancement in scholarship.
In some church services, there can be as many as 10 to 15 different versions in use. Of course, people can use any translation they like. They are definitely free to do so! Yet I think it is very helpful for pastors and elders to recommend one main translation to eliminate any potential confusion for a congregation.
With this as a foundation, the next question we need to ask is “which is the best Bible to use?”
This leads me to talk about the second reason for choosing the NASB. It stems from the desire to have an essentially literal translation (a “word for word” translation) in use rather than a dynamic equivalent, or “thought for thought” one. The primary advantage in choosing a “word for word” translation is that it gives us confidence that what we read in our Bibles are the equivalent English words for what the authors actually wrote. There is no need to wonder at every point where translation ends and subjective, personal commentary begins or if important material might be omitted from the original.
Certainly, there are other excellent translations out there. For years I have used the English Standard Version (ESV) which is a wonderful translation. However, a choice needed to be made and it is the NASB that is our Bible of choice here at King’s Church.
ENDORSEMENTS OF THE NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE
“The New American Standard Bible has set the standard for faithful Bible translations for a generation. It is the favorite of so many who love the Bible and look for accuracy and clarity in translation. The New American Standard Bible should be close at hand for any serious student of the Bible. I thank God for this faithful translation.” – Dr. R. Albert Mohler, Jr., President, Southern Baptist Theological Seminary
“The NASB is an excellent translation that seeks the closest possible verbal equivalency.” – Dr. R. C. Sproul
“Better than any other English translation, the Updated NASB represents the writings of the original Hebrew and Greek authors. For private study and public readings, it’s unsurpassed!” – Bruce A. Ware. Ph.D., Associate Dean, School of Theology, Professor of Christian Theology, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Louisville, KY
“The NASB is ‘my’ Bible, the finest and clearest of translations for inductive study. You can be sure this is the translation I recommend above all others.” – Kay Arthur, Co-Founder, Precept Ministries International
“Among the wide variety of English Bibles available to readers in our generation, the NASB offers the most literal translation of the text of the originals. It blends accurate scholarship with devotion and the end product is one that both informs the mind at the same time as causing the Christian to rejoice. It certainly is worthy of a place on the bookshelf of every Christian.” – Dr. Robert M. Norris, Senior Pastor, Fourth Presbyterian Church, Bethesda, Maryland
“In a time when there are so many translations to choose from, it is a joy to know that there is one that you know is accurate and readable. As I prepare for messages, I find without fail that the NASB has accurately and clearly translated the word or the text. It is the translation I recommend to all who ask.” – Pastor Randall Morton, First Evangelical Church of Greenville, South Carolina
“As a preacher, it is my desire to present the Word of God as accurately as possible to my people. The New American Standard’s word-for-word translation helps me greatly in achieving that task. With the NASB, I can proclaim, ‘The Bible says…’ with confidence.” – Rev. Bob Hurd. Pastor, Beacon Baptist Church, New Orleans, LA
The Bible does not merely show sinners to be undeserving, but as ill-deserving. So often we are inclined to think of ourselves, prior to our salvation, as in some sense “neutral” in the sight of God. We are willing to admit that we have done nothing to deserve His favor, but this is entirely insufficient as a background to the understanding of divine grace. It is not simply that we do not deserve grace: we do deserve hell!
Grace is stripped of its meaning when it is merely thought of as a “good business decision” on God’s part. I am referring here to the mistaken idea that God saw our “worth” and decided that the high price was indeed right, and that He would pay the necessary expense to bring us safely to heaven. No, a thousand times, no! That’s not grace at all. That’s just a good business deal!
Grace is seen in this – while we were wretches; while we were sinners, shaking our fists at God, hating God, defying God in thought, word and deed – every single one of us; God did something ridiculous – paying an outlandish and scandalous price to redeem us (the blood of His beloved Son). This was not because He calculated it all out and thought it was a good investment on His part; that we were “worth it.” No, God was motivated by His radical, amazing, abundant and all conquering love alone, as He set about saving a people for Himself. There was nothing of intrinsic worth in the creatures He redeemed. Any worth we had was entirely borrowed from the God who made us in His image.
I find that all of us really need to get this in our bloodstream, so to speak, before grace can be fully appreciated. At times, we are far too quick to talk of God’s remedy for sin before we have described and firmly established our terrible plight before a holy and just God. Fallen humanity is not to be thought of as merely helpless, but as openly hostile toward God. It is one thing to be without a God-approved righteousness. It is altogether another thing to be wholly unrighteous and deserving of divine wrath. It is, then, against the background of having been at one time the enemies of God that divine grace is to be portrayed, for “while we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son” (Rom. 5:10).
Grace is sovereign and free. Although God is gracious in His eternal being, He need not be gracious or shower His grace upon anyone. Think about it – though many angels had fallen into sin, no plan was ever initiated to rescue even one of these angels from the fierce wrath of God. Yet, the angels of God surrounding the throne are still singing “holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts. The whole earth is full of His glory.” In the heavenly courts, there is not even a hint of injustice in any of this. Why? Because God is never obligated to show mercy to any of His creatures. No injustice takes place when justice is administrated! If God was ever obliged to show mercy, we would not be speaking of mercy at all, but of justice.
Grace is not to be thought of as in any sense dependent upon our merit or demerit. This may be expressed in two ways. As said above, in the first place, grace stops being grace if God is compelled to give it. But more than this, grace treats a person without the slightest reference to merit whatsoever, but solely according to the good pleasure of God. Since grace is a gift, no work is to be performed, no offering made, to repay God for His favor.
(1/21/18) – Medical science informs us that the events surrounding a baby’s birth is a key factor in a child’s development. A long, drawn out, painful and complicated birth can have a lasting negative impact and that is why it is vital that much attention is given to provide a safe, healthy process and environment for a baby. When it comes to spiritual birth into the kingdom of God, how can we make sure the new baby is off to a good start in its new life in Christ? What does a NORMAL Christian birth look like? If we could standardize the process, what things would we put in place?
I received an email today asking me about why I started King’s Church, especially knowing it would be a very small start up situation. I will edit some of what they wrote so that they are not identified in any way, but they are wondering about their own situation and whether or not a new Church should be started near them.
They wrote: You mentioned (in a Dividing Line teaching) that King’s Church began in your home. I am wondering if you have any link to a testimony you have given as to why King’s Church began in your home. Was there a need for it? A church plant from another church?
No, I don’t have a link to any testimony regarding starting King’s Church.
Need? Well there is always the need for sound, biblical churches in any locality, and of course, there is biblical precedent for a church to meet in a house (Rom. 16:5; Col. 4:15), but the reason King’s Church started was just a burning and lasting conviction (for more than a year) that this is what I should do. In a nutshell, I felt starting the Church was “the call of God” on my life.
It is vital that this is in place in the heart and mind of the pastor. I cannot stress that enough. If the man can live his life without doing this, he should not start the Church.
There is no doubt the enemy will not leave a biblically sound church alone but will seek its destruction for sure. That is true, no matter what the size, but a small church starting can easily be hit by even a few people leaving. The winds and waves can be strong and even severe at times. There needs to be a long term commitment from the pastor that this is his life’s work – he is not there to merely “try” this, or to see if it works… he is there for the rest of his life (if needed) to establish this – BECAUSE HE CANNOT SLEEP AT NIGHT IF HE DOES NOT DO THIS!
Then there needs to be a life that backs that commitment up. Just about everything in life starts small and as a seed. Scripture says “Do not despise the day of small things.” (Zech. 4:10) We are told this for the simple reason that it is VERY easy to do exactly that – despise something that is small. This is especially true in the U.S.A. when so much is measured by its size. Lets always remember though, a large oak tree is simply an acorn that held its ground.
The call of God to pastor and specifically to start a church is difficult to explain and very subjective (I realize) – but in my own case, this conviction only seemed to grow over time and I felt it was confirmed by other pastors both locally and far away who provided much encouragement for me to do so. I think that is important. Many believe they have gifts suited for a task but it is the Body of Christ who can confirm whether this is true or whether someone is self-deceived. By way of analogy, in a worldly setting, a lot of people think they are amazing singers, only to be exposed on “American Idol” as having a “talent” the Lord wouldn’t mind them burying.
Bear in mind too that I had decades of pastoral experience both in the UK and here, specifically in start up churches, so this proposed new venture would be done with my eyes wide open, so to speak – knowing some of the hardships and issues we may well encounter before we began.
While we were not a church plant, I was assured that other pastors would be behind me, at least in prayer, so I would not be on my own. It would be the best scenario if we were a church plant, and had access to resources beyond our own, but such was not the case. But at least I could get good advice from fellow pastors. They also expressed their willingness for me to talk with them at any time.
I say this because I don’t think it is wise to be totally on your own in starting a Church. The road is never an easy one, and it is imperative to have others you can turn to for advice along the way.
I hope something in what is above can be helpful to you.
(I received this reply)
“Absolutely helpful! Praise God and thank you…”